\ ˈthred How to pronounce thread (audio) \

Definition of thread

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a filament, a group of filaments twisted together, or a filamentous length formed by spinning and twisting short textile fibers into a continuous strand
b : a piece of thread
2a : any of various natural filaments the threads of a spiderweb
b : a slender stream (as of water)
c : a projecting helical rib (as in a fitting or on a pipe) by which parts can be screwed together : screw thread
3 : something continuous or drawn out: such as
a : a line of reasoning or train of thought that connects the parts in a sequence (as of ideas or events) lost the thread of the story
b : a continuing element a thread of melancholy marked all his writing
c : a series of electronic messages (as on a message board or social media website) following a single topic or in response to a single message
4 : a tenuous or feeble support hung on by a thread
5 threads plural : clothing


threaded; threading; threads

Definition of thread (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to pass a thread through the eye of (a needle)
b : to arrange a thread, yarn, or lead-in piece in working position for use in (a machine)
2a(1) : to pass something through in the manner of a thread thread a pipe with wire
(2) : to pass (something, such as a tape, line, or film) into or through something threaded a fresh roll of film into the camera
b : to make one's way through or between threading narrow alleys also : to make one's way usually cautiously through a hazardous situation
3 : to put together on or as if on a thread : string thread beads
4 : to interweave with or as if with threads : intersperse dark hair threaded with silver
5 : to form a screw thread on or in

intransitive verb

1 : weave sense 2 the car threaded through traffic
2 : to form a thread

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Other Words from thread


threadless \ ˈthred-​ləs How to pronounce thread (audio) \ adjective
threadlike \ ˈthred-​ˌlīk How to pronounce thread (audio) \ adjective


threader noun

Synonyms for thread

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of thread in a Sentence

Noun A thread was hanging from the hem of her coat. the unwary bug was snared in the sticky threads of the spider's web Verb She threaded her shoelace through the holes. thread film through a camera They had to thread their way through the crowd. Waiters threaded through the crowd. a river that threads through narrow valleys
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Trump responded in a thread of tweets, pledging to support a primary challenger to Murkowski. Emily Brooks, Washington Examiner, "These states could see Trump- vs. McConnell-backed Senate Republican primary battles," 18 Feb. 2021 In a thread on Twitter, Hixenbaugh explained that the scary incident unfolded on Tuesday night, just after his family had lost power and their home's pipes burst. Joelle Goldstein,, "'Texas Is a Disaster,' Says Dad Who 'Rushed' Choking Son on 'Icy Roads for Emergency Surgery'," 18 Feb. 2021 The camera lingers on a shot of her screen long enough to make clear there are no previous messages in the thread. Zak Jason, Wired, "TV Characters Don’t Have Text History. This Is Not OK," 16 Feb. 2021 Carry on adding oil in a very small thread while whisking vigorously. Bill Buford, The New Yorker, "How to Make a Classic Bistro-Style Steak Tartare at Home," 17 Dec. 2020 Summers, who previously worked at FireEye, responded to online criticism directed at FireEye in a thread of tweets. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "When a top cybersecurity gets hacked, what is the takeaway for the average netizen?," 13 Dec. 2020 In a thread about the first study of a COVID-19 outbreak on an airplane, for example, Feigl-Ding failed to mention the important caveat that researchers suspected all but one case occurred before people got on the airplane. Seyward Darby, Longreads, "The Alarmist: Is One of the Pandemic’s Loudest Scientific Voices Helping or Hurting Public Health?," 10 Dec. 2020 Its statement about Atlas earned nearly 16,000 likes on Twitter, but also prompted hundreds of criticisms in the comment thread. Nanette Asimov,, "Stanford University faculty object to controversial comments from coronavirus naysayer and Trump adviser Scott Atlas," 17 Nov. 2020 Daniel Scarpinato, the governor's chief of staff, sidestepped that question in a Twitter thread on Friday, repeating that the benchmarks are voluntary for schools. Lily Altavena, The Arizona Republic, "Governor silent on which school leaders requested COVID-19 guideline changes," 30 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Pelicans entered this season trying to thread the needle. Scott Kushner,, "Kushner: Pelicans' inability stop or make 3-pointers a sign they are behind the times," 20 Jan. 2021 Mosseri found a way to thread between the film’s eccentric, comic elements and the slow-burning romance between Wood and Rodriguez. Tim Greiving, Los Angeles Times, "Emile Mosseri gets to the heart of two films with his romantic and dreamlike scores," 25 Jan. 2021 Europe is preparing for a Christmas season like no other, as governments desperately try to thread the needle between preserving public health and allowing families to gather for traditional celebrations at the end of a tough year. Eliza Mackintosh, CNN, "What you need to know about coronavirus on Wednesday, December 16," 16 Dec. 2020 Finally, thread a third piece of cord through the eye hook and down the final row of hooks, securing at the bottom. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Yes, You Can Make Your Own Roman Shades—Here's How," 15 Jan. 2021 Wednesday’s action, in particular, will add to pressure on Vietnam, which has been trying to thread a course between China, its powerful neighbor, and the United States. Washington Post, "U.S. Treasury labels Vietnam, Switzerland as currency manipulators," 16 Dec. 2020 Unravel the liquid line from the bottom of the tower kit and thread it through the hole into the fridge. New York Times, "Make A DIY Seltzerator," 12 Dec. 2020 Google’s push will have to thread mounting concerns about its expansive collection of online information and clout in advertising and commerce. Jennifer Surane,, "Google to Offer Checking Accounts With Banks in Pay App Revamp," 18 Nov. 2020 The boat and crew would now thread through the Northeast Passage and aim to meet the men in two and a half months on the far side of the ice cap, in the waters north of the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. Adventure, "The untold story of the boldest polar expedition of modern times," 23 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thread.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of thread


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for thread


Middle English thred, from Old English thrǣd; akin to Old High German drāt wire, Old English thrāwan to cause to twist or turn — more at throw entry 1

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Time Traveler for thread

Time Traveler

The first known use of thread was before the 12th century

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Statistics for thread

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Thread.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for thread



English Language Learners Definition of thread

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long, thin piece of cotton, silk, etc., used for sewing
literary : a long, thin line of something
: the raised line that winds around a screw



English Language Learners Definition of thread (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put a thread, string, rope, etc., through a hole in something
: to put (film or tape) into a movie camera, tape recorder, etc., so that it is ready to be used
: to move forward by turning and going through narrow spaces


\ ˈthred How to pronounce thread (audio) \

Kids Definition of thread

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a thin fine cord formed by spinning and twisting short fibers into a continuous strand
2 : a thin fine line or strand of something a thread of light
3 : the ridge or groove that winds around a screw
4 : a train of thought that connects the parts of something (as an argument or story)

Other Words from thread

threadlike \ -​ˌlīk \ adjective


threaded; threading

Kids Definition of thread (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to put a thread in working position (as in a needle)
2 : to pass something through another thing Thread the film through the camera.
3 : to make a way through or between He rushes on and on … threading his way with perfect skill between tree-trunks …— C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
4 : to put together on a thread : string

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Comments on thread

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